Our mission is to alleviate suffering, both physical and mental, and to increase well-being.
We hope for a society in which people live more conscious and happy lives based on kindness, compassion, reflection and wisdom. Our goal is to create a friendly and ethical environment for practicing mindfulness so that we can all fulfil our potential and improve the quality of life.
We are the only Polish organiser of MBCT systematic teacher training – Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, which entitles you to receive a certificate accredited by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. The course and the certificate constitute substantive and practical preparation for running the MBCT programme both in Poland and worldwide. We apply the standards of scientific work and cooperate with various academic institutions.
The main goals of the Foundation include:
• disseminating the knowledge and practice of mindfulness and compassion methods, in particular Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and other mindfulness-based interventions (MBI);
• promoting health and well-being on personal and social levels through the dissemination of methods based on mindfulness and compassion in the field of education, and their application in personal and social life;
• helping people in need as well as supporting hospitals and medical facilities;
• promoting the didactic and ethical standard of MBI teachers and trainers;
• promoting mindfulness as a pro-health attitude to life;
• popularising and conducting scientific research on the influence of MBI on human functioning;
• actions to improve health and promote a healthy lifestyle;
• improvement of working conditions, prevention and actions helping to remove the effects of stress and occupational burnout;
• promoting healing methods complementing modern medicine;
• promoting physical activity and other methods of working with the body;
• promoting an ecological, mindful and conscious attitude to life.
The basic quality of this skill is impartiality. Being fully aware of our own experiences – physical sensations, thoughts, emotions, without becoming attached to them, and without judging. This type of self-observation helps to break habitual reactions to various types of stimuli, and thus allows for a more conscious and controlled response.
Mindfulness also includes acceptance, as we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them – without assuming that there is a “right” or “wrong” way of thinking or feeling at any given moment.
When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune in to what we are feeling at the present moment, rather than recalling the past or imagining the future.
Research has shown that regular practice of mindfulness significantly impacts the following areas:
• reduces the level of anxiety,
• increases the body’s resistance,
• improves emotional self-regulation,
• reduces emotional reactivity,
• increases attention and the ability to focus,
• improves memory, learning and perception,
• reduces the impact of stress,
• improves the quality of sleep,
• lowers blood pressure,
• improves the quality of life,
• increases well-being.
MBCT – Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, was developed at the turn of the 21st century as a group therapy intervention for people with depression in remission to prevent relapse (Holas & Żołnierczyk-Zreda, 2018).
Since the first publication in 2000 assessing the effectiveness of this therapy, many studies and meta-analyses have been carried out, the results of which confirm its effectiveness in the prevention of recurrent depression. Based on the results of research, the British National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, as early as 2009, recommended the above-mentioned therapy as an effective method of preventing recurrent depression in people with at least three episodes in the history of remission.
In the last decade, a number of promising studies have also been published on the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in current depressive episodes and chronic depression, as well as examining the mechanisms via which this type of intervention exerts its therapeutic effect. It has been shown that an increased ability to be mindful and compassionate towards oneself or a decrease in the tendency to ruminate and worry have an impact on the mechanism of change under the influence of therapy.
MBCT (Segal et al., 2002) was developed by Zindel Segal, John Teasdale and Mark Williams as a manualised form of group therapy intervention for the prevention of recurrent depression in people suffering from such a condition.
It was created on the basis of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme by Jon Kabat-Zin (1982) and elements of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for depression (Beck et al., 1979).
MBCT therapy combines certain formal mindfulness practices (focusing on breathing, body scan, yoga elements, and moving meditation) as well as informal mindfulness practices (encouraging a mindful approach to everyday life activities) with CBT techniques and psychoeducation on depression.
MBCT is a structured, short-term (session once a week for 8 weeks), group method, requiring from the therapist not only clinical knowledge, but above all, their own well-established meditation practice (mindfulness exercises are in fact meditation exercises).
• The first four sessions are devoted to learning how to focus attention and noticing when the mind becomes distracted. First, attention is directed to the sensations from the body, then the breathing.
• In the subsequent sessions, this skill is used to register thoughts and feelings, accept them, and suppress habitual reactions to them. Between sessions, the participants of the therapy practice daily meditation exercises and, on their own, consolidate the experience gained in class.
• After completing the course, they are encouraged to continue practicing mindfulness.
The goal of MBCT is to enable participants to acquire skills that will help reduce the risk of recurrence of depression. Another goal is to learn to recognise individual prodromal symptoms of impending depression and to develop a plan of action for such a situation.
The founders of MBCT (Segal et al., 2002; Williams et al., 2009) link the ruminative style of thinking – the primary mechanism that triggers the recurrence of depression – with the “doing” mode, the mental mode consisting of a verbal attempt to find a solution to a problem, and contrast it with the “being” mode, developed through mindfulness training. It is a non-verbal mode in which a person opens up to emotional, mental and bodily experiences and accepts them as they are.
Therefore, the way out of the mechanisms responsible for the recurrence of depression is through gaining a greater moment-to-moment awareness of bodily sensations, feelings and thoughts, and developing a new way of relating to them based on acceptance and compassion, rather than, opposing, rejecting or identifying with them. (Holas, 2015a, 2015b).
As a result, habitual responses or “mental ruts”, also referred to in mindfulness training as “the automatic pilot,” can be replaced by new, conscious strategies for regulating emotions.
Selected studies on the effectiveness of the MBCT programme:
• Teasdale, J.D., Segal, Z.V., Williams, J.M.G., Ridgeway, V., Soulsby, J., & Lau, M. (2000). Prevention of relapse/recurrence in major depression by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 615-623.
• Teasdale, J.D., Moore, R.G., Hayhurst, H., Pope, M., Williams, S. & Segal, Z.V. (2002). Metacognitive awareness and prevention of relapse in depression: Empirical evidence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 278-287.
• Ma, S.H., & Teasdale, J.D. (2004). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: Replication and exploration of differential relapse prevention effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 31-40.
• Goldapple, K., Segal, Z., Garson, C., Beiling, P., Lau, M., Kennedy, S. & Mayberg, H. (2004 ). Modulation of cortical-limbic pathways in major depression: Treatment specific effects of cognitive behaviour therapy compared to Paroxetine. Archives of General Psychiatry, 61, 34-41.
• Lau, M, Bishop, S., Segal, Z.V., Buis, T., Anderson, N. & Carlson, L. Shapiro, S., Carmody, J., Abbey, S. & Devins, J. (2006). The Toronto Mindfulness Scale: Development and validation. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62, 1445-1467.
• Segal, Z.V., Kennedy, S., Gemar, M., Hood, K., Pedersen, R., & Buis, T. (2006). Cognitive reactivity to sad mood provocation and the prediction of depressive relapse. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63, 750-755.
• Kuyken W, Byford S, Taylor RS, Watkins E, Holden E, White K, Barrett B, Byng R, Evans A, Mullan E, Teasdale JD. (2008). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to prevent relapse in recurrent depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 966-78.
• Farb, N., Segal, Z., Mayberg, H., Bean, J., McKeon, D. & Anderson, A. (2007). Mindfulness training reveals dissociable neural modes of self-reference. Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2, 313-322.
Teacher Training Course in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT-PL)
The training course is organised by Fundacja Rozwoju Mindfulness in cooperation with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC) at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, UK. The director of the MBCT teacher training in Poland (MBCT-PL) is Dr. Paweł Holas.
Successful completion of the training course will end with the receipt of the MBCT teacher (therapist) certificate issued by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and Fundacja Rozwoju Mindfulness.
The MBCT teacher training course in Poland (MBCT-PL) gives participants the opportunity to develop practical skills that help to acquire real and internalised competences enabling them to conduct 8-week MBCT courses. The acquisition of such competences is primarily a result of the participants’ own involvement in practicing and developing mindfulness. This is the key requirement for those applying for the training and is the basis for running own courses.
The MBCT-PL teacher training consists of many modules and includes:
• theoretical foundations of MBCT, including essential elements of cognitive therapy (CT),
• knowledge of psychology and Buddhist philosophy,
• a great deal of practical exercises,
• psychological and neuroscientific foundations of mindfulness and therapeutic trends in which mindfulness and compassion are of key importance,
• the trainee’s regular, personal, daily practice of mindfulness.
The Rationale for the Course
MBCT was developed by John Teasdale, Mark Williams and Zindel Segal as a manualised, class-based skills training programme for people with recurrent depression (Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2002). Nowadays, it has a much wider application, not only in the area of health, but also in education and other fields where developing mindfulness has significant benefits.
MBCT integrates elements of cognitive therapy with intensive practice of mindfulness meditation, with the aim of helping people to relate differently to the pain and distress related to depression and other emotional problems, as well as achieving a general state of well-being.
Randomised clinical trials support its efficacy in preventing relapse in people who have experienced repeated episodes of depression. Hence, MBCT is recommended in the guidelines of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an effective type of intervention for the prevention of this increasingly common problem.
Because its central principles are transdiagnostic, MBCT holds promise as a helpful intervention in a wide range of settings and with a broad range of problem areas, both physical and emotional. Preliminary research suggests that mindfulness-based approaches can be helpful to patients with problems as diverse as generalised anxiety disorder, depression, chronic depression, anxiety, chronic pain, cancer, health anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, stress, and bipolar disorder.
MBCT has attracted a great deal of interest all over the world. However, opportunities to extend the knowledge and acquire the skills necessary for becoming an effective teacher are rather limited in Poland. The Oxford course first introduced in Poland in January 2019 by Fundacja Rozwoju Mindfulness is designed to address this need. It offers an opportunity for in-depth learning, and aims to create a body of teachers and clinicians with the knowledge and skills they require in order to teach, develop and disseminate MBCT effectively.
The Aims of the MBCT-PL Teacher Training Course
• To provide specialists from various professional backgrounds and especially qualified clinicians with an understanding of theory and research and with practical experience, so that they can apply MBCT competently and effectively in clinical and other appropriate healthcare and educational settings.
• To create a strong community of MBCT teachers and therapists to disseminate this approach in Poland.
• To cultivate a body of practitioners trained to disseminate the approach, and educated to contribute creatively to further developments in the field.
The training course seeks to enable participants to:
• Develop in-depth knowledge, understanding and critical appreciation of theory, empirical research and clinical literature relating to MBCT, appreciating how theory-building, research and clinical observation reciprocally inform one another.
• Contribute creatively to the theoretical understanding of the psychological processes underlying MBCT and to its application with clinical populations.
• Develop and deepen their own personal mindfulness meditation practice and the capacity to reflect on practice in the light of theory, research and clinical knowledge.
• Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to design and deliver a programme of MBCT competently with a particular client group, including producing appropriate instructional materials, evaluating the impact of the programme, and reflecting critically on its design and outcome in relation to theory, research and clinical literature.
OUR PARTNER – OXFORD MINDFULNESS CENTRE
For almost 20 years, the University of Oxford has been recognised worldwide as a centre for advancing research into the application of Cognitive Therapy (CT), also known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
The university boasts a large group of CBT experts and an unwavering reputation for providing high-quality courses, research and clinical supervision.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy MBCT was developed about two decades ago by a group of clinicians comprising of Oxford-based Mark Williams and John Teasdale, and Zindel Segal from Canada, on the basis of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programme (MBSR) and elements of cognitive behavioural therapy for depression. An increasing number of Oxford clinicians and researchers specialise in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, as well as developing and delivering training courses.
The MBCT teacher training programme was initiated by Professor Mark Williams, one of the founders of MBCT, and the training team currently includes Willem Kuyken – director of the OMC, Dr. Christina Surawy and teachers from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.